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General HD (720 / 1080) Acquisition
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Old July 21st, 2005, 12:39 AM   #1
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Which HDV camcorder will serve my needs?

I was wondering if anyone on this board could give me an idea of which camcorder I can choose for my immediate goals. First let me explain, I'm a college graduate from Jersey City State College(well, they now call it New Jersey City University.) I graduated with a Bachelor's of Arts. My major was Media Arts but my field of interest & concentration was in film & video. It was my aspirations to become a professional videographer and a filmmaker. Well, to make a long story short, things didn't all go my way after I graduated and I've been out of the field for some time.(Unless you consider being a projectionist for a Loews Cineplex these last 3 to 4 years as still part of the film business.)

It'd seem my goal to be a videographer or filmmaker was dead for a while. But, as you all well know, the introduction of cost effective HD & 24p has opened a new door that was not available before to no-budget filmmakers like myself. I've decided now is the time to get on the ball and make things happen. Originally, I thought about camcorders like the DVX100, XL2, PD150, VX2100 but then figured that with the HDV/HD era upon us, why not take advantage of it. So, I'm now considering purchasing a HDV camcorder.

My goals are two fold. One for film, and one for for video. I'd like to aquire two HD camcorders for both goals. As for my independant film goals, I am contemplating between the Panasonic HVX200 and JVC HD100 due to its progressive capabilities, especially their ability to do real 24P, not that mock-up CF24 from Sony's HDV cameras. But, until either is released and I can get a first hand look, I'll continue to wait and see on that one.

That brings me to my more immediate goal and point of this topic, my goals in videography. I'm looking to do get into doing some freelance videography. I'm talking mostly wedding and events videography, in general. Although they are not yet released, I have my doubts whether the HC1 or the A1 would suit my needs. I just don't have too much faith in a 1 chip CMOS camcorder as a pro-camcorder or until proven otherwise. That leaves me with the FX1 & the Z1. I know the HVR-Z1 is the creme de la creme of HDV camcorders now. But, I'm curious if the HDR-FX1 with a Beachtek adapter like the DXA-6 would suffice and meet my needs completely for shooting wedding, receptions, corporate videos, etc.I know the Z1 offers like 40 more options more than the FX1 but for what my specific purposes, do I really need all those extras? Wouldn't the FX1 meet my needs? I'd really apreciate some feedback. I want to make my purchase from B&H soon. Will the FX1 do or should I shell out the extra clams for the Z1???

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Old July 21st, 2005, 04:45 AM   #2
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From my experience - I use an FX1 as well as a Z1 for broadcast here in the UK, I see no need (for me) for the extras on the Z1.
That's for my type of shooting where it's all PAL, and usually SD - HDV isn't being asked for yet... but everything is of course 16:9.
I saved the difference between the two cameras and bought a half-decent mike and other goodies (Manfrotto 523Pro zoomcontroller etc.)

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Old July 21st, 2005, 02:42 PM   #3
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To me the killer features on the Z1 are the NTSC/PAL switching. For someone in the UK, it wouldn't be a big deal because the FX1E has the "PAL" modes, but in NTSC land, we only get CF24 and CF30. CF25 would be a wonderful mode to shoot in. (mainly because, unlike 50i - which may provide a resolution advantage, CF modes provide a colourspace and compression advantage). Incidentally, I don't mind CF24 at all.

I don't think the "audio advantage" of the Z1 is a particularly valid reason. For the cost of the upgrade, you could buy XLR adaptors and a microphone... not to mention a mini-disc recorder to avoid the MPEG compression on the audio.

Finally - there are some other "nice" features in the Z1 viewfinder and colour options... and the extra gamma curve would be cool... but I dunno how much of that you can fix with post and how much you'd actually use.

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